Morning Blessing

The bounty of some days makes up for the drought of others, and on this day, another page of the Kinarwah chronicles was to be turned over for our reading pleasure. Just as we saw the Banbehi female off on the Banbehi Nallah Road, Vikas turned back to drive to Mirchani and then complete our…

Mirth

My perch in the tree-house creaked. I sat heavily on my feeble rump, feeling in every breath the pangs of a bereaved man. “Old Hag knows the cause of your melancholy,” said Old Hag, who, turning around I noticed, was seated legs folded, roughly two feet off the floor in thin ether. “But let me…

A ‘Boaring’ Digression

One late morning at Sukha Talab, the Pateeha female, having watered herself and her two girls, had risen to a stately squat, ready for departure, when one of the cubs’ attention was diverted by a sound. On the firm conviction that it behoved him to investigate, the cub walked away from the water and positioned…

A Tiger’s Way

The wheels rolled into Rajbehra one searing afternoon, and we learned that one of the Jhurjhura cubs had taken throne on a rocky outcrop behind the dam. As I sat in brief contemplation, the following advisement from an eminent photographer cracked the silence at its seams: “Kaunsa lens hai tere paas, bhai? 300 hai, na?…

Wise as a Tiger

My eleventh visit to Bandhavgarh began on an ominous note.   At the tail end of the first safari, we arrived at Gopalpur Meadow to find an extremely genial English gentleman, whom I was to later identify as John Aitchison, a wildlife cameraman who’d won an Emmy for my then favourite documentary, Frozen Planet.  He…

The Bold New Face of Banbehi

  It was late in the morning. The sun, having long since gained a firm foothold in the sky, climbed to dizzying heights. The ground, warmed by his telling ascent, baked the living hopes of the visitors into thin air, leaving only the most tenacious ones behind, who, including us, patiently pursued a change of…

Crucified for No Crime?

Let a hundred guilty go scot-free, but not one innocent should be punished” says the Law. Unfortunately tigers don’t seem to be eligible for such penal largesse as they continue to pay the ultimate price for human avarice and callousness. Cornered, squeezed out of their decimated homes and slaughtered for their beauty, they find scarce…

Ruler amongst Ruins

Of what fabric it is sewn, we know not; from what mettle it is cast, we are unaware, that it stands so dignifiedly amidst carnage and glitters like a diamond on a dung mound, that even in the wake of a blustering wind it burns bright with all its might.

Tiger Wars: A New Hope

On the occasion of tiger reserves being reopened to tourism after a three-month ban… The Banbehi female cub in hot pursuit of her brother at Sita Mandap, May 2012 I can smell the wet earth and lap up the dew again. I can breathe the whispering wind and watch a virginal dawn crack again. I…